Louisiana crews battle intense wildfires amid sweltering heat
As extreme heat bears down on a large portion of the country, crews from across Louisiana are battling intense wildfires in Beauregard Parish.
As scorching heat blankets a significant portion of the nation, firefighters from across Louisiana are waging a fierce battle against intense wildfires in Beauregard Parish. Experts estimate the Tiger Island Fire has already devoured 10,000 acres.
The State’s Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner, Dr. Mike Strain, offered an on-the-ground perspective from the side of the Tiger Island Fire, situated just outside of Deridder, La., where the intensity of the blaze is palpable as air tankers and helicopters work in tandem to combat the inferno. In his address, Dr. Strain shed some light on their efforts to quell the flames and protect lives and property.
“Those drops have really made it,” he said. “Now we’ve got those approvals in there. That’s the last part. We got to pinch off on this fire.”
With 15 to 18 crews on-site, including the National Guard, the firefighting arsenal spans air tankers, helicopters, volunteer fire departments, and regular fire departments. Their collaborative efforts are focused on containing the flames before dusk falls. The air tankers and helicopters play a crucial role in dousing the fire’s fervor.
“The air tankers are making a huge difference,” Strain said, underlining their significance. “What they do—they work with us to allow us to get ahead of it.”
The complexity of combating wildfires becomes more and more apparent as Dr. Strain describes the challenges of reducing the flames from the tree canopy to the ground level. When fire rages at the tree tops, it becomes difficult to control, posing a serious threat. Embers carried by the wind can ignite new blazes even miles away from the epicenter.
Dr. Strain also spent some time acknowledging the undeniable dedication of the firefighters involved in the efforts, who are also battling extreme temperatures—reaching a sweltering 109 degrees—saying the intensity of both the heat and the fire is acutely felt.
“Every man and woman out here on this fire is putting their life on the line to save their community and their family and the property here,” he said.
Dr. Strain implored locals to heed evacuation orders, as well as fire safety protocols in the “Highlands” region of Louisiana, where the wildfires are raging. While the extent of agricultural damage in the area remains unclear, according to the LSU Ag Center, this area of the State is a leading commodity hub for forestry, beef, rice, soybeans, and produce.
Dr. Strain also shared a crucial piece of advice: “Don’t light a match. Don’t do anything that could cause a fire because these wildfires are serious.”